Auxiliary task reweighting for minimum-data learning

Baifeng Shi, Judy Hoffman, Kate Saenko, Trevor Darrell, Huijuan Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

Abstract

Supervised learning requires a large amount of training data, limiting its application where labeled data is scarce. To compensate for data scarcity, one possible method is to utilize auxiliary tasks to provide additional supervision for the main task. Assigning and optimizing the importance weights for different auxiliary tasks remains an crucial and largely understudied research question. In this work, we propose a method to automatically reweight auxiliary tasks in order to reduce the data requirement on the main task. Specifically, we formulate the weighted likelihood function of auxiliary tasks as a surrogate prior for the main task. By adjusting the auxiliary task weights to minimize the divergence between the surrogate prior and the true prior of the main task, we obtain a more accurate prior estimation, achieving the goal of minimizing the required amount of training data for the main task and avoiding a costly grid search. In multiple experimental settings (e.g. semi-supervised learning, multi-label classification), we demonstrate that our algorithm can effectively utilize limited labeled data of the main task with the benefit of auxiliary tasks compared with previous task reweighting methods. We also show that under extreme cases with only a few extra examples (e.g. few-shot domain adaptation), our algorithm results in significant improvement over the baseline. Our code and video is available at https://sites.google.com/view/auxiliary-task-reweighting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems
Volume2020-December
StatePublished - 2020
Event34th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Dec 6 2020Dec 12 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Signal Processing

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